China’s Desire For Ivory and the Effect Upon African Countries 


China is one of the only countries in which recently acquired ivory can be sold legally, and because it is in such high demand, China’s insatiable thirst for ivory is devastating elephant populations around the world. 80% of the Chinese middle class own one or more pieces of ivory and 84% of those people intend to purchase more in the future. Trade between Africa and China between 2003 and 2013 has jumped from $6,000,000,000 ($6 billion) to over $100,000,000,000 ($100 billion). China has been investing in Africa, building roads and shipping ports as a way to streamline the trading process. Some of the most popular goods traded include turtles which are eaten, shark fins which are also ingested, rhinoceros horn which is ground up and consumed, and elephant ivory which is carved into decorations. 60,000 shipping containers enter Chinese ports each day, with less than 1% being searched, making Chinese ports a smugglers paradise. Only 16% of ivory sold in China is legally traded and can be verified to have been sourced from legally acquired sources. Kenya has achieved success with elephant protection due to private philanthropy which funds the ability to patrol Kenyan parks via helicopter and land vehicles with armed security personnel, trained guards who have been authorized to shoot to kill when poachers have been identified actively poaching or attempting to poach

The Hypocrisy of the Ancient Romans Towards the Ancient Druids 


The Druids were a terrifying spectacle to the ancient Romans, even to those who were battle hardened soldiers. The Roman historian Tacticus in 60 A.D. described the Druid’s as, “the enemy in a close packed array of armed men interspersed with women dressed like furies in funeral black, with streaming hair and brandishing torches, round about were the druids, their hands raised to heaven, pouring out dire curses”. Celtic Iron Age priests ruled Druid territory with an iron grip based upon religious intimidation and human sacrifice. The Druids were believed by the Romans to be maligned priests who held supernatural powers. The Romans wanted to eliminate the Druids as they viewed them as savages and barbaric due to their tradition of human sacrifice. Ironically, this was during the same era of the Circus Maximus and Colosseum holding gladiator battles which often went to the death

Traditional Operatic Theater


Despite common belief, not everyone who attended operas during the 18th century spoke Italian which is and was the language of most operas. Because of this, operatic actions became highly exaggerated over the evolution of the artform to act as a kind of subtitle to fill in the blanks. Patrons were also provided small booklets with the entire opera in print, much the same as a modern day screenplay script so that they could follow along in the event that they became lost

The Origin of Kung Fu


The origin of Kung Fu started with Bodhidharma (pronounced “bo-dee-dar-ma”), an Indian monk who arrived in Shaolin, China during the 5th century. Bodhidharma meditated for 9 years in a cave at the top of Mount Songshan, next to the Shaolin monk monastery. After becoming enlightened, Bodhidharma descended back down to the monastery to teach his fellow monks what he had learned and encouraged physical activity through calisthenics as a way of training the body and mind. It is a 5 kilometer trek of stairs from the bottom to the top of Mount Songshan and Shaolin monks use this staircase as part of their physical and mental training, going up and down the stairs in various movements (e.g. walking, crouching, laying down etc.)

The Status Symbol of Fast Food In Brazil


Fast food in Brazil is considered a sign of success. Fast food in Brazil costs approximately 2x as much as it does in the developed world. Fast food corporations view China, Brazil, and India as emerging markets but the way in which these markets have responded to the introduction of fast food is very different. Whilst the general public of all industrialized countries are aware that fast food is bad for health and therefore should not be consumed often, subsequently being viewed as a product which is consumed predominantly by the poor, this viewpoint is completely flipped and skewed in Brazil as Brazilians know that fast food is bad for their health, but participating in the eating of fast food is regarded as a status symbol, something that only wealthy and affluent members of society can participate in and enjoy. It’s a smaller, lighter version of what owning an iPhone or high end brand name clothing is in the industrialized world

Chinese Silk


Historically recorded Chinese accounts by monastic Chinese scholars state that a handful of monks sent to China by the Roman emperor Justinian, smuggled silkworms out of China within the hollowed out shoots of bamboo canes and brought this cargo to Constantinople which is modern day Istanbul, Turkey so that the silk textile trade could be exported from China for the first time in recorded history. For over 2000 years Constantinople was considered the crossroads of the world, the nexus at which the west and east converged. Silk soon took off as one of the most in demand and profitable industries within Istanbul’s long and fascinating history. It should be noted that these accounts are thought by many scholars to be a work of fiction

Indonesian Islam


In Indonesia, during the 16th century (although various sources of contrasting Islamic documentation state Islamic traders brought Islam to Indonesia in the 8th century), Islam had mass appeal to the general population. Islam strictly forbade discrimination and idolation of any monarchy or royal bloodline, and gave the common people the same opportunity to ascend to paradise as their rulers did. Islam does not have an intermediary when dealing with divine power which further made the religion attractive to the native islanders. These values made Islam more liberating in comparison to Hinduism and Buddhism which were the dominant religions at the time. The most recent mass conversion to Islam was during the fall of communism in Indonesia in 1965. Massive and brutal murders of communist party members occurred in the late 1960s as the accepted convention at the time was that communists were atheists and atheists were therefore communists. The safest method to ensure survival during this turbulent time, especially for the indigenous Javanese who adhered to local indigenous religions, was to declare themselves Muslim so they would not be mistaken for communists and by default, atheists